Can Your Hard Drive Survive Water? LaCie Rugged Boss SSD Review

For photographers in need of a mobile backup solution without having to haul a laptop around, the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD may be the right option for you.

The LaCie Rugged Boss SSD was designed for photographers that are constantly on the go. It lets you backup, review, and manage your raw files without needing your laptop. Some of us bring our laptops with us wherever we go, but now photographers with smaller camera bags don’t need to. That’s appealing to shooting street, documentary, or travel work where you want a low profile. We’ve been impressed with LaCie’s other solid-state storage solutions for quite some time, but how well does the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD stack up during real-world use?

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Rugged construction
  • Integrated SD card reader
  • Splash and drop resistant
  • Built-in battery

Cons

  • Lacks Thunderbolt or wireless connectivity
  • Uses SATA SSD rather than faster NVMe

Gear Used

We tested the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD with the Apple iPhone 7 Plus, Microsoft Surface Pro 7, and a variety of SD cards and camera bags.

Tech Specs

Tech specs for the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD taken from the Amazon product page.

Max Capacity1 TB
Max Laptop Transfer Speed430 MB/s
Interface Compatibility1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (USB Type-C)
Drop ResistanceUp to 1.2m
Splash, Dust Resistance
IP67 Water Resistance
Special FeaturesSD slot, USB port, BOSS app
Rescue Data Recovery Services3 years
Dimensions (L x W x H)1.4 x 4.3 x 5.4″ (36.0 x 110.0 x 136.0mm)
Weight1.12 lb (0.51kg)

Ergonomics

The LaCie Rugged Boss SSD resembles LaCie’s many other rugged drives. Their token bright orange grippy rubber bumper hugs the device. One side of the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD has a removable rubber cover. The other has the combo power/function button. Pressing it powers up the SSD, and illuminates the built-in display hidden beneath the main body. This display cycles between available storage and the internal battery’s remaining juice. It doubles as the Function button for copying data off of SD cards.

Removing the rubber cover reveals the various input and connectivity options. The rubber cover attaches via friction and is recessed into the bumper deep enough that it’s not going to fall out accidentally. This adds to the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD’s splash and dust resistant design.

The LaCie Rugged Boss SSD boasts several connectivity options. Moving left to right, you have the barrel connector for charging, USB 3.0 Type-A port (backward compatible with USB 2.0), USB 3.1 Type-C port, SD card slot, and a removable Lightning cable. You can connect and backup other hard drives or flash drives to the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD using the USB 3.0 Type-A port. The USB 3.1 Type-C port allows you to connect the Rugged Boss SSD to computers to offload backed up data. The SD card slot allows you to backup raw files onto the Rugged Boss SSD. Finally, the removable Lightning cable allows you to connect the Rugged Boss SSD to iOS devices utilizing the Lightning connector. For photographers using Android devices or iPads equipped with a USB Type-C connector, LaCie’s included Micro USB and USB Type-C cables in the box that you can install in place of the pre-attached Lightning cable.

Here’s a look at the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD connected to an Apple iPhone 7 Plus. The LaCie Boss app is running on the Apple iPhone 7 and allows you to manage and manipulate the data stored on the Rugged Boss SSD. Using the app, you can get up incremental backups and data verification onto the LaCie Rugged Boss. You can also use it to adjust whether the Rugged Boss SSD will charge your connected device using its internal battery when plugged in, as well as to upgrade the firmware on the Rugged Boss SSD when they become available.

Build Quality

Like much of the company’s rugged external storage devices, the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD is sturdily built and can withstand substantial amounts of abuse. Weighing in at 1.124 lb (0.51 kg), the Rugged Boss SSD feels more substantial than most external solid-state storage devices. This is due to the integrated battery built into the Rugged Boss SSD. This allows the device to perform backups without the need for external power, and can even be used to juice up your phone or tablet in a pinch. Being an SSD, the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD doesn’t contain any moving internal components. You can drop the device onto the ground while it’s in the middle of backing up data from an SD card without having to worry about damaging the internal drive or corrupting the data.

I’ve been using the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD as my primary onsite backup when shooting on location for the last two months and it’s worked without incident after every shoot. I especially liked that LaCie designed Rugged Boss SSD’s removable rubber cover so that it can be installed while an SD card is inserted into the drive. I’ve tossed it into a variety of different camera bags or roller cases while it was in the middle of backing up raw files from my SD card and it’s worked flawlessly every time. Thanks to its splash and dust-proof design, the Ruggged Boss SSD’s even allowed me to backup data in the rain on a number of occasions. While it won’t survive a dive into the ocean or being thrown off the roof of a tall building, the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro will surely stand up to the everyday abuses that photographers can throw at it.

“You can drop the device onto the ground while it’s in the middle of backing up data from an SD card without having to worry about damaging the internal drive or corrupting the data.”

Ease of Use

The LaCie Rugged Boss SSD is very easy to use. Backing up files from your SD cards or other USB storage drives is as easy as pressing a button. (It’s seriously that simple.) You can also connect the Rugged Boss SSD to your computer and use it as an external drive, but there are more affordable external storage options on the market. The LaCie Boss app allows you to manage the data stored on the Rugged Boss SSD, and you can export raw files onto your phone/tablet to do quick mobile edits without having to rely on a computer.

During real-world tests, the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD was able to backup entire SD cards consistently fast. Backing up a full 64GB SD card (rated at 300 MB/s read and 299 MB/s write) took roughly 10 minutes with data verification enabled. Backups would take about half that time with data verification disabled. As you can see in the CrystalDiskMark benchmark results above, the maximum read speeds of the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD actually slightly exceeded the advertised 430 MB/s.

Conclusion

Likes

  • Laptop free operation and general ease of use
  • Fast performance
  • Solid build quality
  • Compatible with Lightning, Micro USB, and USB Type-C

Dislikes

  • No Thunderbolt or WiFi support
  • A bit pricey, but you get what you pay for

The last thing any of us wants to deal with as photographers are losing the images that we worked painstakingly to create. The LaCie Rugged Boss SSD is a reliable mobile backup solution that gives photographers peace of mind even when they have to keep their kit to a minimum. The Rugged Boss SSD’s splash and dust-resistant construction mean that you’ll be able to back up your raw files reliably even when you’re caught in less than desirable weather conditions. LaCie even includes a three-year limited warranty that includes data recovery services should the Rugged Boss SSD sustain any failures during that time. With an MSRP of US $449.99, the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD is certainly not cheap. Although the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD’s price may be too prohibitive for some, the peace of mind it offers is a reasonable value proposition for professional photographers that frequently shoot on location while needing to maintain a low profile.

The LaCie Rugged Boss SSD earns four out of five stars. You can pick one up from Amazon.

Pauleth Ip

Paul is a New York City based photographer, creative, and writer. His body of work includes headshots and commercial editorials for professionals, in-demand actors/performers, high net worth individuals, and corporate clients, as well as intimate lifestyle/boudoir photography with an emphasis on body positivity and empowerment. Paul also has a background in technology and higher education, and regularly teaches private photography seminars. When not working on reviews and features for The Phoblographer or shooting client work, Paul can be seen photographing personal projects around NYC, or traveling the world with his cameras in tow. You can find Paul’s latest work on his Instagram over at @thepicreative.